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Apple stores to ditch Windows EasyPay systems for iPhone tech - Page 2

post #41 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by k squared View Post

Really? I'm pretty sure it's a MBP that is locked in a box on the floor.

Like I mentioned above, it's the AT&T stores that use PCs (or did, this may have changed).

The Apple Store has always used Macs.
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post #42 of 72
SAP, Oracle, now Apple.
post #43 of 72
I couldn't help but chuckle every time I saw "POS device".

An iPhone isn't a POS!!!

post #44 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by badNameErr View Post

"improve reliability"

EasyPay has reliability problems? Do you have a source for that?

Or did you just make it up?


The software was certainly funky.
post #45 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I'm sure there are issues, but I've been pretty lucky with my purchases. I do think that Motorola and other handheld POS manufacturers are probably none to happy about Apple opening up the 30-pin connector. I bet that many of these companies didn't even realize that their business model would be in trouble until it was spelled out what Apple's device will be able to do. Maybe some still have no clue until they get a look at this article or others showing what will be occurring.

I hope that at least a couple of these companies will be the ones making the the attachments, but this looks like a prime time for a small upstart to make some serious coin. In other words, these Motorola Symbol POS handhelds look to cost around $2000 retail, while an iPod Touch costs only $229 + the cost of the attachment, the software, and maybe a docking station. I think that with Apple's SDk that $500-$1000 for the whole POS part would be still be very profitable and still be much less than the ones I'm seeing on Google Shopping. Though honestly, I can see it had for considerably less than the numbers I state.

Did you try to but an iPhone with it, and get the account set-up? That's where the problems are. As I said, for "normal" purchases, I've not had problems.

It seems as though these complex transactions are beyond what they were designed for. It couldn't link the serial number to the phones several times.
post #46 of 72
Btw, if interested in further analysis on the third party accessories play in iPhone 3.0, here is a post I wrote that looks at some market segments and use case examples.

It also shows how Apple's hardware differentiation dates back to the days of Apple (special hats off to the Woz, Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak):

PC 1.0, iPhone 3.0 and the Woz: Everything Old is New
http://bit.ly/7hLJY

Check it out if interested.

Mark
post #47 of 72
Hey, I didn't know iPhones were for business! (sarcasm)
post #48 of 72
About the article, for the one weekend a year that I need to charge a credit card while away from a computer, I can just log into Authorize.net directly. It's not as slick, but it can do the job.

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I think the article clearly shows why it took so long. I wonder how long it will take for the market to be swarmed with new HW add-ons after iPhone oS 3.0 officially hits.

I'd really like to see where it goes.

Quote:
It makes me wonder if the iPod Touch will get a 3.2Mpx camera, which I here is what is needed for a decent barcode scanner.

iPhone isn't in focus close-up, I don't know how more pixels will fix that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlux View Post

It appears that the CC number has to be keyed in manually. I hope that a true card swipe device is incorporated, not only to speed things up but also to minimize keystroke error. Some cards have so much distracting artwork on them it's tough to read the numbers on a good day, and let's not discount operator error as well.

That is true, I'd say a "jacket" with a swipe reader and laser scanner will do the job. I think they can be made to look decent given the constraints of the task, it's going to make the device bigger, but there's only so much that can be done about that and still be reliable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post

Slightly OT, but does the camera-in-the-Touch talk make anybody else think they are trying to shift revenue away from the subscription iPhone?

Why would they set out to do that? They probably make a lot more money on iPhones because of the subscription. If they want to have a certain number of features be iPhone-only, then they might add something else to the iPhone while the camera shifts to more devices.

Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

AT&T used a PC to drive their displays, at one point, presumably because their stores were already PC centric. The Apple Store never did.

Really, I mean, think about it: why would Apple need a PC to run an animation on an external display?

I suppose it shouldn't matter that much, but it would seem that the setup is so simple that I don't understand why AT&T would need a PC to do the same. It's a self-contained device that only does a single task, a relatively simple one at that, and should be able to do it without any intervention. If you have dopes for techs that can't handle for a simple task of maintaining it and couldn't be bothered to learn how to troubleshoot them from documents, then just ship the mini back for a new one if something doesn't work right anymore.

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I'm sure there are issues, but I've been pretty lucky with my purchases. I do think that Motorola and other handheld POS manufacturers are probably none to happy about Apple opening up the 30-pin connector. I bet that many of these companies didn't even realize that their business model would be in trouble until it was spelled out what Apple's device will be able to do. Maybe some still have no clue until they get a look at this article or others showing what will be occurring.

That depends on how much competition there is for the scanner & swiper add-ons.
post #49 of 72
I am a concierge. I love everything about my job except that POS Easypay POS. It's a continuous source of frustration for everyone. The ipod concierge app is really great. Just shows what can be done. I can't wait for an ipod-pay!
post #50 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

That depends on how much competition there is for the scanner & swiper add-ons.

Depends on how large the market is, and how much this could expand it.

I'm not familiar with it. I see it at Apple, of course. but have not seen it anywhere else, though it must be elsewhere.

If one of the reasons is that the device is too expensive, and another is that it isn't that great, two assumptions I'll make right now, then this could get interesting.

IF, and it's a big if, some company comes along with the better mousetrap using Apple's iPhone/iTouch, then that could change the market.

While this certainly isn't on the same scale of importance, there was no market for billions of copies until Xerox made a market for one.
We could see the use of these things expand significantly if a new product is truly superior.
post #51 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Did you try to [buy] an iPhone with it, and get the account set-up?

I bought three iPhone 3Gs, at different times and at different locations, at Apple Stores on my already current AT&T account. Now, i did have issues with AT&T with the first iPhone 3G, but I don't think it was anything with the Symbol device. The AT&T rep on duty went to a terminal that didn't fit with Apple's setup and after about 5 minutes I had my iPhone 3G active.
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post #52 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

That is true, I'd say a "jacket" with a swipe reader and laser scanner will do the job. I think they can be made to look decent given the constraints of the task, it's going to make the device bigger, but there's only so much that can be done about that and still be reliable.

I hope that manufacturers who make add-on components do the whole 'jacket' styling on the majority of products. In other words, actually have the iphone/ipod slide into the add-on. I've seen a few devices that slot in the bottom but just into the plug and the leverage that it can generate puts a lot of strain on the port. The problem here is that the ipod/iphone aren't all the same size so they have to make multiple models.
post #53 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I hope that manufacturers who make add-on components do the whole 'jacket' styling on the majority of products. In other words, actually have the iphone/ipod slide into the add-on. I've seen a few devices that slot in the bottom but just into the plug and the leverage that it can generate puts a lot of strain on the port. The problem here is that the ipod/iphone aren't all the same size so they have to make multiple models.

Good point, I think that can be accommodated by different shims or replacement shells.

Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

While this certainly isn't on the same scale of importance, there was no market for billions of copies until Xerox made a market for one.
We could see the use of these things expand significantly if a new product is truly superior.

I think there is plenty of potential here, I am interested in how this plays out. One thing that can really help is that the Apple touch devices are compact, complete, self-contained computers that are already built. You have the input, display, data links, a good OS, good dev environment, good data links, plenty enough compute power, and so on. I think it's quite possible that niche device makers can make a better profit, and still cheaper devices than they have before, even when factoring in the cost of the i-device. They don't have to reinvent the wheel, they just concentrate on the one bit of functionality that they specialize in. It would probably be more reliable than anything the niche company could make on their own.
post #54 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlux View Post

It appears that the CC number has to be keyed in manually. I hope that a true card swipe device is incorporated, not only to speed things up but also to minimize keystroke error. Some cards have so much distracting artwork on them it's tough to read the numbers on a good day, and let's not discount operator error as well.

But now that this is getting tested by Apple itself it's a safe bet that the entire package will find takers at other stores as well. Perhaps the tide will turn and the next Microsoft ad will find their precious $400 laptop getting rung up on an iPod Touch...

I think you're referring to the embedded video in the story. That commercial shows off existing apps for the 3G. They were demonstrating an order lookup via manually keying in a credit card. They wouldn't use manual keying of credit cards for purchases. Apple stores will be using swipers via USB interface and probably some kind of "dock" or harness.
post #55 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Much better, I hate the positively grotesque 'dog food' phrase.

On another note, I hope they think to use robust (industrial-type) iPhone cases for this.

Most other companies make "dog food".
Apple makes a healthy vegan-friendly lunch.
post #56 of 72
I think we will see something akin to the Incase powerslider that adds a card swiper, optical scanner and battery...

post #57 of 72
...the images shown are from a recent iPhone ad. It's intended for small business owners. It's NOT intended for Apple Stores. Expect Apple Stores to have a card swipe station that interacts with the iPod touches, wirelessly. And there's no need for a 3.2MP camera to take images of UPCs. It's the inability to focus at short distances that is the problem. Belkin made a case with a lens that slides over the iPhone's camera to help it focus at macro distances.
post #58 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by KenC View Post

...the images shown are from a recent iPhone ad. It's intended for small business owners. It's NOT intended for Apple Stores. Expect Apple Stores to have a card swipe station that interacts with the iPod touches, wirelessly. And there's no need for a 3.2MP camera to take images of UPCs. It's the inability to focus at short distances that is the problem. Belkin made a case with a lens that slides over the iPhone's camera to help it focus at macro distances.

Agree, apple will most likely have their own app strictly for this.
post #59 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by k squared View Post

Really? I'm pretty sure it's a MBP that is locked in a box on the floor.

The iPhone displays that were crashing were running windows. If it didn't crash there's no way to tell if the MBP was running windows... The display at the Lancaster store has a MacMini in the back/bottom of it, didn't know any were tied to a laptop. It's a thicker one than the ATT stores had but was somewhat interactive. I actually though "Wow, they made a big azz iPhone for a display!" because kids were touching the screen and it was responding, at least it looked like it was. Back of it showed the White square top of a mini (apple logo right side up).

I don't get too excited about stuff like that... More interested in the computers than the devices and when I goto a store it's not for the fun of dealing with all the kids (I AM GETTING OLD!).
post #60 of 72
I'm thinking of a car with nothing in the centre console except an iPhone dock, everything from climate control, engine management, music, GPS and phone functions all controlled by the iPhone OS interface.

Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Several other posters in various other threads have made this point, but it's really starting to look like the really big news in the iPhone 3.0 OS isn't cut and paste or search or MMS, it's access to the dock connector.

An explosion of devices that use the iPhone/Touch as web-enabled intelligent controllers with a sophisticated touch UI and a well established SDK could drive a huge increase in sales and redefine the whole idea of an "ecosystem."

Imagine surround sound receivers with a dock connector that allows for, not just piping music through your system, but a much better programming/set-up UI than the typical few lines of cryptic LCD and a sea of tiny buttons. Leave volume control, station preset and input switching on the front panel for day to day use, put all the level setup, input assignment, surround mode, et al on the touch interface.

After all, lots of hard to figure out buttons and inflexible UIs with small displays was the problem the iPhone was designed to address, and it's a problem that remains endemic in the CE industry. I could see all kinds of devices with just a few large, basic controls built in, the rest "outsourced" to the iPhone/Touch platform.

Sure, it means an additional expense to get the functionality, but you can also deduct the price of UI/control hardware and software/WiFi/Bluetooth from the cost of the device. Plus, with a 30 million and growing installed user base, such devices could be marketed to people who already have an iPhone/Touch.
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post #61 of 72
It's got a Mac Mini and runs OSX, we had to buy a plug adapter as it's got a US power plug.

We've got one in our store, every night we turn it off by pulling the power plug (It's too much hassle to undo the screws and shut it down) and every morning we turn it on and start the Quicktime movie that loops all day, it's been doing that seven days a week (apart from Christmas day, Good Friday and Today) since 11 July without missing a beat.

The quicktime movie is the UK version (I'm in Australia I guess one of you ignorant Americans thought Australia was close enough at least it's not an Austrian version) and still shows the old firmware (3G icon etc).

It's really annoying putting the mouse away as the slightest bump often pauses quicktime and everything is sideways.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xwiredtva View Post

The GIANT Iphone display is actually running Windows.
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post #62 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I bought three iPhone 3Gs, at different times and at different locations, at Apple Stores on my already current AT&T account. Now, i did have issues with AT&T with the first iPhone 3G, but I don't think it was anything with the Symbol device. The AT&T rep on duty went to a terminal that didn't fit with Apple's setup and after about 5 minutes I had my iPhone 3G active.

That's different. We came from Sprint, so we needed to get accounts. We also did so at Apple.
post #63 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

I think we will see something akin to the Incase powerslider that adds a card swiper, optical scanner and battery...


That was the battery thing I was referring to, but,couldn't remember its name.

Something like that could contain the entire device.
post #64 of 72
Apple doesn't need, and hasn't needed Microsoft for a very long time. If anything, the reverse is true. Just look at Microsof's pathetic ad campaigns against Apple. Ten million dollars for Jerry Seinfeld, a fading comedian, who uses a Mac and did nothing for Microsof. Now we see "ordinary people," paid actors in fact, that it's better to buy a cheap PC than a Mac because...it's cheap. My god but this stuff wears me out.

If Microsoft weren't so threatened by Appple, they wouldn't be paying for these ads.
post #65 of 72
i know someone close to the situation...but everything in this post should be considered speculation.

a credit card swiper should be a definite. if an employee keys in the cc number they are required to do a manual imprint of the card. scanner is a must as well; would you want to manually key in 4 tiny barcodes from an iphone box (iccid, imei, sn, upc)? and a camera function would require you to look at the preview to make sure your on the upc. you can laser something upside down with your eyes closed.

while there's no knowing who would make the "jacket" with the scanner and swiper, I imagine InCase (they make the power slider) will be involved...they already make the holsters and belts that the employees use to hold the easypays.

the only downside to using a touch or an iphone as easypay would be the abuse they take. the symbol devices can take a licking, and my friend says they even do minor repairs on them, but a glass screen is not going to hold up to that kind of daily wear and tear.

But the upside is that it will hopefully be a lot less buggy, laggy, and crashy. a crash on a current easypay, which reportedly happens quite often, can mean a 3 minute reboot (a long time in the retail world) inaccurate declining of credit cards, and god-forbid it happens during activation of an iphone!

there isn't any sensitive info on the devices themselves...they connect to a secure local server

oh and BTW, the cash register POS system runs on a mac, and it works like lightning 100% of the time.
post #66 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by apricot View Post

the only downside to using a touch or an iphone as easypay would be the abuse they take. the symbol devices can take a licking, and my friend says they even do minor repairs on them, but a glass screen is not going to hold up to that kind of daily wear and tear.

I don't see this as a major issue. The iPhone and iPod Touch are quite durable for handheld CE. I have dropped countless cell phones and cameras over the years and they have busted apart, sometimes working fine after snapping back together, sometimes needing to be MacGyvered a bit to work, and sometimes not working at all.

My original iPhone had no case from day one until I sold it nearly a year later for more than what I paid for it. The back of the aluminium case had some very minor scratches that buffed out and little dent that I noted before eBaying. I kept that in a pocket with keys. The display never cracked or scrathed, though the latter would be less likely with glass.

My current iPhone I use a case because it was free when I bought my Jawbone and iPhone charger. I'm glad I used it because the back plastic is scratching more, even with the case, it seems. Though I have dropped it many times from a couple meters up and many more from about 1 meter up. No issues with the display, though I can see a slight line at the bottom where the glass isn't adhering to the backing as well.

I think that if InCase or someone else makes an attachment that has a CC reader and scanner that they could easily make it thick enough, while making it considerably smaller than current Symbol devices, to encapsulate the iPod/Touch well enough to prevent any real trauma. Even if the inside of the holder is rubberized and extended slightly over the front of the device I think it would be more than sufficient for Apple. But even if it isn't, there are screen covers that will help protect the glass.
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post #67 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I hope that at least a couple of these companies will be the ones making the the attachments, but this looks like a prime time for a small upstart to make some serious coin. In other words, these Motorola Symbol POS handhelds look to cost around $2000 retail, while an iPod Touch costs only $229 + the cost of the attachment, the software, and maybe a docking station. I think that with Apple's SDk that $500-$1000 for the whole POS part would be still be very profitable and still be much less than the ones I'm seeing on Google Shopping. Though honestly, I can see it had for considerably less than the numbers I state.

You are comparing two different products, the Symbol units are robust, you can drop them and they will not break. Yes you can add a robust cover to the iPod (several where available for the iPaqs etc to do a similar job) but these also increase the size of the unit, and the price.

There is also the other sides to the protection factor, like dust, and liquids. No point having a cheap unit if you are repairing it all the time (and believe me you will be repairing it all the time)
post #68 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by apricot View Post

the only downside to using a touch or an iphone as easypay would be the abuse they take. the symbol devices can take a licking, and my friend says they even do minor repairs on them, but a glass screen is not going to hold up to that kind of daily wear and tear.

You will have the same issues as the Symbols, and Norands etc, the screens break easily on them as well. Especially when used outside of shop environment like an Apple Store. They should be able to do more than minor repairs on them, the Symbol devices we used you could just about replace every part on them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by apricot View Post

But the upside is that it will hopefully be a lot less buggy, laggy, and crashy. a crash on a current easypay, which reportedly happens quite often, can mean a 3 minute reboot (a long time in the retail world) inaccurate declining of credit cards, and god-forbid it happens during activation of an iphone!

Maybe there is something wrong with their app, it shouldn't take three minutes to reboot a PPC device and load an app.
post #69 of 72
Am I the only one who didn't find it ironic that Apple used non-apple hardware for handheld POS terminals?

If given a choice today, and I were in charge of the Apple stores, I probably would still not choose an apple solution for POS. The computing industry is absolutely massive and proficiency in one market doesn't necessarily transfer to another.

There are plenty of things about these handheld scanners that are drastically different than an iPhone or touch. For instance, the ones we use at my company are indestructible. You can drop them from 6 feet onto concrete repeatedly, hundreds times in a row, and they won't break. You can take the battery out, replace it with a fresh one, and the device comes back to life on the last screen you left it, and without wifi disruption to the currently open apps. That's right, the system loses no data even without a battery. Oh, and they never crash, ever. They run for years without a single glance by our IT staff. (With the hardware and software combo we run at least)

There are numerous other systems in the apple stores which also don't run on macs. Everything from the security system, the climate control, to probably even the payroll records hosted on an external website. I suppose the POS software/hardware is high profile in the public's eyes, but other than that it really isn't too significant.

Most people are too clueless to give it second though. And the people who are really knowledgeable about these things aren't surprised either. It is only the people in between that find it ironic, the computer savy users who know quite a bit about macs but not about computer use in retail.

I suppose it might be worthwhile if apple wanted to move out of the consumer market and into retail/commercial/industrial. But to do so requires completely redesigning their hardware. The iPhone and touch are horribly suited to most uses in these fields.

And yes, this is coming from a 20 year mac user who absolutely loves his iPhone.
post #70 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by dfiler View Post

If given a choice today, and I were in charge of the Apple stores, I probably would still not choose an apple solution for POS. The computing industry is absolutely massive and proficiency in one market doesn't necessarily transfer to another.

While your summary of the industry is informative, don't assume that Apple isn't looking into expanded markets with the Touch (and whatever else they might be working on in the labs). This could be a toe in the water for something that might have a 3 to 5 year timeline.

While Apple itself was no huge customer for presentation software, their motivation to create Keynote went far beyond the potential to save a few PowerPoint license fees. Creating a new POS system for use in their own retail stores might be the first step of a larger feasibility study whose goals we haven't been privy to as yet.
post #71 of 72
Holy shit, an extremely well articulated and salient point followed by a thoughtful and thought provoking response.

Fanboys! X mac! Apple tax!

There, that's better. Dodged a bullet on that one.
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post #72 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

It's got a Mac Mini and runs OSX, we had to buy a plug adapter as it's got a US power plug.

We've got one in our store, every night we turn it off by pulling the power plug (It's too much hassle to undo the screws and shut it down) and every morning we turn it on and start the Quicktime movie that loops all day, it's been doing that seven days a week (apart from Christmas day, Good Friday and Today) since 11 July without missing a beat.

Have you tried to use the "Energy Saver" preferences to schedule daily shut down and start ups? That way, it should work completely unattended, and you reduce the risk of drive corruption because of a sudden power cut every day. Apparently it's working fine for you, it's not changing any files, but there is still a risk, pulling the power cord should be a last resort if at all possible.
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